[Spellyans] a vry

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Thu Nov 7 18:33:00 GMT 2013

Lhuyd used what could be termed a "phonetic code", slightly complicated by the fact he had a couple of assistants who applied their own interpretations of that.

Nonetheless, Dick Gendall did a detailed study of this in 1989 and published his findings as "The Pronunciation of Cornish".  As Lhuyd spent many years in Oxford, it's likely that the sounds of English he refers to when comparing the phonics was that which was spoken there.
Gendall acknowledged that even that form of English was spoken differently in 1700 and referred to E.J. Dobson's 1957 book, "English Pronunciation 1500-1700".

The results are very pleasing, and don't sound like an Englishman attempting another tongue (as heard all too often at the annual Gorsedd), compare well with the sounds used by our older native residents in West Cornwall, and are very much what you hear when Dick, Dan Prohaska and Neil Kennedy are speaking in Cornish.


On 2013 Du 7, at 17:51, Chris Parkinson wrote:

> Thanks for the response to my email. I agree that your revision of UC has resulted in several very readable translations into Cornish which have been a great help to many learners. I can also see that Lhuyd may well have had an imperfect understanding of parts of Cornish syntax.  I, and I expect other RLC users too,  will be quite happy for you to point out where you think we are going wrong in grammatical matters. However, you haven’t answered the questions that arise in connection with the spoken language. It is an important matter for those involved in trying to learn and teach how to speak Cornish. In his own orthography Lhuyd was largely trying to  write what he heard. Do you think he failed to an extent that makes his material too suspect to use as a model? Or do you think, as have some notable Welsh academics in the past, that the spoken language is somehow substandard. But the spoken language is what is learnt first by every language user.
> Chris
> From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Nicholas Williams
> Sent: 06 November 2013 21:40
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] a vry
> I don't think we have. Gendall thought the choice was between UC and the Later Cornish of Rowe, Boson and the eighteenth century scholars. Lhuyd is unreliable, because he didn't know Cornish and never really understood parts of the syntax, for example he writes me a vev 'I was', etc. instead of the correct me a ve, etc.
> Gendall has since revised his position and is now prepared to use Tregear as a source, though TH is Middle Cornish, not Late Cornish in orthography. 
> The choice was not between Middle Cornish and Late Cornish, but between Nance's purist construct i.e. UC, and the actual Cornish of the texts.
> Nance was in my view quite culpable here.
> It is obvious from the texts and from Lhuyd's express statement on the matter, that the ordinary and neutral way of making the future was with the auxiliary
> mynnes. I will go in the texts is me a vyn mos, but Nance used my a wra mos or my a.
> It is also obvious that with conditionals the auxiliary verb in the texts is dos: mar tema disquethas theugh SA 60; mones the vyras deffry
> mar a tueth ha dasserhy RD 682-3. Nance didn't allow this, or perhaps he hadn't noticed it.
> Negative unreal conditions in the texts are made with na ve: na ve bos fals an denma
> nyn drossen ny bys deso PA 99b; na ve creya warnogh why kellys ol y fyen ny BM 2169-70
> It is clear that the ordinary way of making the 1st sg and plural imperative was with gas/gesowgh: gas vy lemmyn th'y hure
> yn queth kyns ys y vayle RD 3196-97; Gesow ny the wull den TH 1a.
> Nance does not seem to have noticed that indirect speech could be expressed after dell or fatel in the earliest texts:
> a tus vas why re welas 
> fetel formyas dev an tas
> nef ha nor war lergh y vrys 'good people you have seen that God the Father created heaven and earth according to his will' OM 2825-27.
> Pre-occlusion occurs in BM CW and Lhuyd. Nance based much of his phonology on Lhuyd but he wouldn't countenance pre-occlusion.
> The rhotacisation of -s- in gerys < gesys and nag eran ny < nag eson ny occurs in TH and SA, but Nance didn't allow it.
> 3rd plural prepositional pronouns are well attested in TH and SA, but are not countenanced in UC.
> Nance thought that the reflexive had to be made with om-, which is not true. y honen is commoner; verbs in om- are often different in sense from the simplex.
> I could continue. In so many ways Nance went for the archaic and the purist, when the actual language of the MC texts from PA onwards
> was much more racy, more colloquial than he allowed.
> Gendall saw that UC was unworkable, but made, I believe, the wrong choice. Instead of following the texts and producing a workable version of revived
> Middle Cornish while it was still written in the traditional way and was still a full language, Gendall attempt to base his system on the fragmentary remains of 17th and 18th century Cornish.
> It is for this reason that I constantly stress the continuity between Middle and Late Cornish, which Nance's UC regrettably tends to disguise.
> Of course Gendall got bogged down in orthography because his sources lacked a standard, unlike the authors of the sixteenth century.
> Nicholas
> On 6 Nov 2013, at 19:54, Chris Parkinson wrote:
> I think we have already covered this ground in a discussion in May. Late Cornish as I understand it was  the spoken Cornish which Lhuyd and many contemporaries attempted to collect and record before the language was lost. 
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